Businesses of the World Go On Strike!

While listening to a radio debate on Wednesday between Kevin Green and Richard Murphy about lowering the top rate of tax in order to boost the UK economy, I became violently angry. All Green could do was threaten in a fairly limp and vague way that wealth-creators might leave the country unless tax burdens were lifted. As the title of this blog suggests, I have a better idea… Continue reading “Businesses of the World Go On Strike!”

What are Businesses Getting Wrong in the Recession?

Everyone ‘s falling about with worry. The recession has us all cautious about spending more money than we absolutely have to, taking on new staff, renting more premises or bringing in too much product in advance.

How can we hang in there? How can we thrive? How can we ensure that our largest and possibly most expensive resource is working to maximum capacity? Continue reading “What are Businesses Getting Wrong in the Recession?”

Woman, Work, and Wanting More


Do you think like a man or like a women when it comes to work? One way to find out is to examine your attitude towards pay.

According to Marilyn Davidson – professor of work psychology at Manchester Business School – men get more pay in the workplace than women because they expect it, they ask for it, and they (think they) deserve it.

If women want equal pay, they have to think in the same way as men. Continue reading “Woman, Work, and Wanting More”

Corporate Social Responsibility v Business


CSR? Another bandwagon that all us business owners have to jump on, large or small? I was listening to Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, on this very topic last week – listen here – and thinking about it a bit this weekend.

How does meeting pressurised targets balance with ensuring staff work in a healthy environment, they asked? Good question. The programme also mentioned the cash and cabbage “incentive” employed by one company. If you met your targets, you were awarded with cash, otherwise you were presented with a cabbage, in public. (Great for morale and loyalty, don’t you think? Treating colleagues as you would your valued customers!? Eh, no.) Continue reading “Corporate Social Responsibility v Business”

Is the Economy Half Empty or Half Full?


Yet another story about how UK customer optimism ‘increases’ hits the headlines. This is according to the Nationwide Consumer Confidence index. Actually, its a pretty good tool. Check it out. There’s even a confidence barometer. But what does all this talk of ‘optimism’ actually mean in this context?

I’ve blogged before about these strange use of words in Cutting the Crap of Recession-Speak Part 1 and Part 2. Luckily enough, I train businesspeople in the skill and strategy of optimism as an aspect of Emotional Intelligence. So I can say a few things about it.

Continue reading “Is the Economy Half Empty or Half Full?”

The Virtue of Profit

David Cameron – or is it Tony Blair? – has come out in favour of something called ‘moral capitalism’ (Cameron ‘moral capitalism’ plea).

Although this is Cameron’s solution to the financial crisis, it seems to be his answer to everything. In fact, he’s gone so far as to define his New Conservatives in terms of the concept of social responsility (also known as ‘socialism lite’ or socialism for dummies).

With this ‘moral capitalism’ Cameron aims to square the circle. He wants to stand up to business… but also stand up for business. He wants to decentralise (read redistribute) economic power, but achieve this by unregulated political power. He wants to stand for the many, although it is the few who create the wealth. No wonder the BBC noted an ‘echo of New Labour rhetoric’. This is just T B only from the other side – one wants a moral capitalism, the other a free-market socialism! Both end in a pick ‘n mix , idea-free zone where spin and sound bites reign supreme. There’s nothing else left. Continue reading “The Virtue of Profit”

So What is This Thing Called ‘Business’?

I could give you a definition of ‘business’. That’s always useful. But quite boring. You don’t need to read a blog to find out that. So I’ll do something else instead. I’ll give you some metaphors.

Metaphors are powerful. They excite the imagination. They illuminate the sense. They fire up the will. Even when it comes to a word as initially dull as ‘business’.

Management thinkers have traditionally employed two mataphors to explain their understanding of business activity and often justify actions that to others seem unpalatable. That is why the first has played a part in Business Ethics over the years, while the second has became a much beloved of motivations speakers and venture capitalists in the 80’s. Continue reading “So What is This Thing Called ‘Business’?”